Graduates without honours will also be eligible for interview calls for the post of college teacher. Candidates with honours will, however, be given preference.
The higher education department decided to relax eligibility criteria for aspiring college teachers to fill vacancies.
According to UGC guidelines, candidates must score at least 55 per cent at the postgraduate level and clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Eligibility Test (SET) to be eligible for interview. The state college service commission imposed an additional criterion — honours in graduation.
“We were able to call only candidates with honours. But there have been umpteen instances of honours candidates failing to crack the interview,” said an official. “We have decided to allow pass graduates to appear for the interview so that seats do not remain vacant.”
In Bengal, graduates are not allowed to do master’s unless they have honours, but such students often pursue post-graduation outside the state. “Any candidate who clears NET should not be denied an interview,” said Siddhartha Mazumdar, the chairman of the college service commission.
Explaining the decision, a senior official said: “The concept that honours courses produce outstanding candidates is a myth...There is hardly any difference in merit between an honours and a pass course graduate. The standard of a BA pass graduate from a college like St. Xavier’s or any other leading college is higher than that of a honours graduate from a middle-ranking college,” the official said.
A Calcutta University teacher agreed. “Giving preference to honours candidates (while allowing pass graduates to compete) is a practical approach,” the teacher said. The higher education department will soon announce what weightage will be given to honours courses.
The new rule will be a boon for those who do their graduation in other states, where there are no honours courses.
The commission will put out advertisements by November-end to fill 1,800 posts of assistant professor in over 400 colleges.